Barclays Premier League Live event could inspire the nation
12th December 2014
When the Barclays Premier League Live event kicks off in Mumbai on Saturday, Neil Taylor will have a sense of satisfaction.
The Swans left-back, currently the only player in the English top flight with Indian heritage, is well aware of the growing appetite for football within India.
He nods with approval when discussing this weekend's fans event at the MMRDA Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) - a free two-day show aimed at taking the Premier League experience to international fans who are not able to attend a match.
The Wales international visited Kolkata - his mother's birthplace - last year through his involvement in a project aimed at developing education and football, while he is also planning a return trip to India next year.
And the 25-year-old believes the Live event will further increase interest not only in the Barclays Premier League and the Swans, but football in general within the country.
"It's a great trip for Swansea to be part of," said Taylor. "It's something the Premier League has needed to do for a long time. Hopefully it raises the interest of football within the south of Asia region.
"I have felt over the past year or two that the profile of football is rising there.
"It's renowned for its cricket, which it has been for a long time, but when I was in India last year I noticed the interest in football had changed a lot.
"There is a massive following in the country, and hopefully Swansea will gain some followers from India due to this event.
"When Ki Sung-Yueng first came to the club I quickly noticed the following he gets from Korea. It was unbelievable.
"The club really looked into that, capitalised on it and tapped into that market - this is something that can be done with India.
"Hopefully it's a crest of a wave with the Indian Super League and this event happening."
The creation of the Indian Super League, made up of eight teams, attracted the likes of Luis Garcia, Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet, Fredrik Ljungberg, Robert Pires and Joan Capdevila.
And with the ISL - currently in its inaugural season - proving a big success, Taylor hopes it will act as a springboard for launching the careers of future professional Indian footballers.
"For me to be the only player with Indian heritage in the Premier League is something I'm proud of," he added. "But for more players to come from India there needs to be a better scouting system.
"Throughout the 90s in the Barclays Premier League more and more scouts went out to Africa and South America, and then in the early 2000s more were going to West Asia, Korea, China and Japan. So there was an influx of players of that origin.
"And with Australia and America having growing leagues, this is the last area in the world that needs to be tapped into.
"The kids will hopefully watch the games - in the ISL and Barclays Premier League - and that will inspire them to potentially becoming professional footballers."
And Taylor has a final message for every one of the 24,000 fans expected to head to the Live event. He added: "Take as much information in as you can, enjoy it and make sure you end up supporting Swansea by the end of it."
You can follow the Swans' involvement in the Barclays Premier League Live event via this website, Twitter and Facebook.
What can fans experience at Barclays Premier League live?
The Live Match Zone - the main arena where fans will watch the live Barclays Premier League matches on a giant screen.
The Trophy Zone - fans will be able to get up close to the Barclays Premier League Trophy.
The Club Zone - supporters will be able to learn more about the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs, and through green screen technology, will be able to picture themselves lifting the Barclays Premier League Trophy decorated with the ribbons of their favourite club.
The Screening Zone - supporters will experience the noise and excitement of a matchday before learning all about the winning teams and captains of the Premier League in this exclusive film.
The Pitch Zone - there will be a mini-football pitch where Barclays Premier League clubs will be conducting skills sessions with local football teams, and there will also be the chance for young fans to have a game of football run by Premier League community coaches.
The Skills Zone - there are three football skills pods for supporters to test their accuracy, close control and shooting power.